What Is Sensory Marketing? Sensory Marketing In A Nutshell

Sensory marketing describes any marketing campaign designed to appeal to the five human senses of touch, taste, smell, sight, and sound. Technologies such as artificial intelligence, virtual reality, and the Internet of Things (IoT) are enabling marketers to design fun, interactive, and immersive sensory marketing brand experiences. Long term, businesses must develop sensory marketing campaigns that are relevant and effective in eCommerce.

Understanding sensory marketing

There has been a lot of research over the past few decades into how the five senses can affect consumer purchase decisions. The sum total of this research has resulted in a new field called sensory marketing, which seeks to relate to consumers on an emotional level via the five senses of touch, taste, smell, sight, and sound.

Sensory marketing was once confined to brick-and-mortar businesses that endeavored to engage shoppers and keep them in the store for as long as possible. With the COVID-19 pandemic accelerating the shift toward eCommerce, some question whether sensory marketing is still as relevant as it once was.

The good news is that sensory marketing is still a valuable tool in the arsenal of any modern business. Visual campaigns will always be popular online, but evolving technologies such as artificial intelligence, virtual reality, and the Internet of Things (IoT) are also enabling marketers to design fun, interactive, and immersive brand experiences that engage other senses.

Sensory marketing examples

All five senses play an important role in creating an emotional association with a brand. Let’s take a look at how sensory marketing is playing out in the real world.


Taste encompasses the five sensations of sour, sweet, umami, bitter, and salty. When an individual tastes a product, they use the other four senses in unison to determine whether they enjoy something. For the business, it is important to move beyond the basic and widespread technique of product sampling toward creating a memorable experience.

New Orleans beer brand Second Line gave consumers the chance to sample a new IPA by taking selfies with branded props and be directed to the nearest store that stocked the beer. While consumers came to taste the beer, they also got to experience the hospitality that the southern part of America is famous for.


How can the consumer fall in love with a product or service with a hands-on experience?

Duct tape brand Duck Tape launched the Duck Tape Rolls Across America Tour to create brand awareness, engage consumers, and increase sales at retail locations. A large and very bright green bus toured the country with a range of interactive activities for duct tape enthusiasts, including product tutorials, fun craft projects, and life-size sculptures.


Most consumers appreciate the smell of baked bread in a supermarket or a signature scent in the cosmetics section of a department store. These smell-based experiences are no accident, with companies using them to connect consumers with some of their earliest and fondest memories. 

American bakery chain Cinnabon deliberately locates its ovens near the front of each store to ensure the aroma of fresh-baked goods permeates the surrounding area. The tactic has proven so successful that some stores maintain the scent throughout the day by warming sheets of cinnamon and brown sugar.


The role of sight in consumer purchasing does not need much explanation. Consumers recognize brands, logos, images, text, and even color schemes in a mostly subconscious process. 

Traditional strategies favor simple product displays, which work to some extent. However, modern businesses should also consider art, videos, advertising banners, magazines, whitepapers, and online catalogs. To create that much-desired emotional experience, visual stimuli can also be paired with auditory stimuli.

The Reunion Tower affords consumers commanding views of the city of Dallas from a height of 561 feet. While this experience is a feast for the eyes, visitors can also download a virtual reality app that enhances the traditional experience of looking out from a tall structure.


Sound is also a widely used technique in marketing, though the efficacy of radio jingles and television advertisements is debatable. Nevertheless, studies have shown that music is an important emotion regulator and that 75% of consumers will remain in a store if they enjoy the music that is being played.

To that end, Victoria Secret broadcasts classical music in its stores to create an atmosphere suggestive of a luxury shopping experience.

Key takeaways:

  • Sensory marketing describes any marketing campaign designed to appeal to the five human senses of touch, taste, smell, sight, and sound.
  • Sensory marketing encompasses a range of creative strategies across the five human senses. For best results, sensory marketing should incorporate at least two different senses in a single campaign.

Types Of Marketing Connected To Sensory Marketing

Email Marketing

Email marketing leverages a set of tactics to build a stronger brand, drive traffic to your products, and build a solid funnel for converting leads into loyal customers. While email marketing isn’t new, it’s still one of the most effective marketing strategies to build a valuable business.

Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate marketing describes the process whereby an affiliate earns a commission for selling the products of another person or company. Here, the affiliate is simply an individual who is motivated to promote a particular product through incentivization. The business whose product is being promoted will gain in terms of sales and marketing from affiliates.

Influencer Marketing

Influencer marketing involves the marketing of products or services that leverages the popularity, expertise, or reputation of an individual. Influencer marketing is often associated with those who have large social media followings, but popularity should not be confused with influence. Influence has the power to change consumer perceptions or get their audience to do something different.

Sustainable Marketing

Sustainable marketing describes how a business will invest in social and environmental initiatives as part of its marketing strategy. Also known as green marketing, it is often used to counteract public criticism around wastage, misleading advertising, and poor quality or unsafe products.

E-commerce Marketing

E-commerce marketing is part of the digital marketing landscape, and beyond, where e-commerce businesses can enhance their sales, distribution, and branding through targeted campaigns toward their desired audience, convert it into loyal customers which can potentially refer the brand to others. Usually, e-commerce businesses can kick off their digital marketing strategy by mastering a single channel then expand for a more integrated digital marketing strategy.

Buzz Marketing

Buzz marketing leverages the power of word-of-mouth advertising to create products or services with enough novelty that they go viral. In many cases, buzz marketing leverages on versatile content that can easily scale and be readapted to various contexts and fear of missing out (FOMO) to amplify the effect of word-of-mouth campaigns.

Shotgun Marketing

Shotgun Marketing
Shotgun marketing is a form of above-the-line (ATL) marketing, where popular mediums such as TV and radio are used to market to a mass audience. This technique of marketing targets as many consumers as possible. Also known as mass marketing, the technique attracts a large number of leads that, on average, might be of lower quality in nature.

Multichannel Marketing

Multichannel marketing executes a marketing strategy across multiple platforms to reach as many consumers as possible. Here, a platform may refer to product packaging, word-of-mouth advertising, mobile apps, email, websites, or promotional events, and all the other channels that can help amplify the brand to reach as many consumers as possible.

Inbound Marketing

Inbound marketing is a marketing strategy designed to attract customers to a brand with content and experiences that they derive value from. Inbound marketing utilizes blogs, events, SEO, and social media to create brand awareness and attract targeted consumers. By attracting or “drawing in” a targeted audience, inbound marketing differs from outbound marketing which actively pushes a brand onto consumers who may have no interest in what is being offered.

Partnership Marketing

With partnership marketing, two or more companies team up to create marketing campaigns that help them grow organically with a mutual agreement, thus making it possible to reach shared business goals. Partnership marketing leverages time and resources of partners that help them expand their market.

Growth Marketing

Growth marketing is a process of rapid experimentation, which in a way has to be “scientific” by keeping in mind that it is used by startups to grow, quickly. Thus, the “scientific” here is not meant in the academic sense. Growth marketing is expected to unlock growth, quickly and with an often limited budget.

Guerrilla Marketing

Guerrilla marketing is an advertising strategy that seeks to utilize low-cost and sometimes unconventional tactics that are high impact. First coined by Jay Conrad Levinson in his 1984 book of the same title, guerrilla marketing works best on existing customers who are familiar with a brand or product and its particular characteristics.

Ambush Marketing

As the name suggests, ambush marketing raises awareness for brands at events in a covert and unexpected fashion. Ambush marketing takes many forms, one common element, the brand advertising their products or services has not paid for the right to do so. Thus, the business doing the ambushing attempts to capitalize on the efforts made by the business sponsoring the event.

Relationship Marketing

Relationship marketing involves businesses and their brands forming long-term relationships with customers. The focus of relationship marketing is to increase customer loyalty and engagement through high-quality products and services. It differs from short-term processes focused solely on customer acquisition and individual sales.

Main Free Guides:

Scroll to Top